In the family

It's no great secret that not everyone gets along in the ED advocacy world. It is also obvious that the divides are getting worse and uglier. Yet, like any family, we can't just ignore one another either -- and we do have to resolve things. Hard truth: no one outside the eating disorder world cares whether we are effective or not. We need one another and we need to do a better job together.

The way forward is not through silence or holding our noses while we hold hands and sing kumbaya. We need to talk, really talk, and it will be painful and awkward.

Coalitions are possible: in the past few months, a large coalition of advocates and organizations proved that they could all come together on a topic: protesting the actions of another organization!

More and more are speaking up, these days, and we all should.


  1. Well said, Laura.
    I'm a great believer in passionate debate. But also of compassionate debate.
    The best way to ensure that somebody STOPS listening to you is to express your views aggressively and to treat the other persons views with contempt. Come on, we all are well versed in the flight or fight response, aren't we?
    We do ourselves no favours by being dismissive of others views.
    In my own fight with anorexia I'm often reminded how destructive "black and white" thinking is. Curious then, that I observe so much of this type of thinking amongst the very people who claim it is so destructive.
    It strikes me that the ed world need to listen to its own advice and, rather than see differing opinions and views as a threat, see them as an opportunity to learn and, yes, to educate.
    No good teacher would mock and belittle a pupil, following up with a swift smack to the head with a sledgehammer and expect them to learn anything. Even if the teacher was throwing scientific studies at the poor pupil during such an onslaught I'd be doubtful of the efficacy of such a method!
    Being rigidly dogmatic is not going to lead to progress in a relatively young field that relies much on cooperation and collaboration to get things done. Particularly when funding can be painfully hard to come by...
    We all have our egos and we tend to engage better when they're left intact! Just saying...(Charlotte should be getting royalties for that phrase!)

  2. Seems the "painful and awkward" are part of what keep these conversations from happening. It seems that if all parties involved could know, up front that it would be fair and respectful that perhaps it would be a bit less painful and awkward.

    And, looking at the overall goal we all have is imperative so that egos and insecurities we all have don't overtake and obscure the common goal of helping those with eating disorders.
    Becky Henry
    Hope Network, LLC


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